When any word is called for, say that I am of.
When the tornado forms, that is the ruinous
kiss. When the bamboo-green field sways,
think of tea. When the vines thicken in
the heat, this is the medusa head dangling
buds like pearls. When a man committedly
steps to the ledge, this is the daguerreotype’s
cold glass face. When winter, that is ashbough
prominent. When mirror or letter or echo,
these are correspondences. When the snow
is pink, something has been left motherless.
When singing, think of ostinato silences.
When stars, history. When the sword-gray,
fatherly rain, this is I have wandered the earth.

This poem appeared in the February 16, 2004 issue of the magazine.